Citizens’ Climate Lobby
CCR Ep 48 Republicans Ready To Tackle Climate Change

CCR Ep 48 Republicans Ready To Tackle Climate Change

May 22, 2020

For a long time climate advocates faced skepticism and resistance coming from Republican lawmakers. That is changing. In February Citizens Climate Radio host Peterson Toscano traveled to Washington DC for the first ever Conservative Climate Training and Lobby Days. Nearly 100 people showed up from all over the country, young and older. They met with Republican staff and members of congress to talk about climate change and a path forward.

In this episode you will hear excerpts from interviews with volunteer lobbyists Carlos Simms, Mary Lawing, Katie Zakrzewski,  Isuru Seneviratne, and Cindy Burbank. On a panel of Republican climate leader Alex Flint, the Executive Director at Alliance for Market Solutions spoke during the February event. Mr. Flint previously served as staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He was the senior vice president of governmental affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, and he was a member of President Trump’s transition team. He outlines for us the dramatic shifts he has witnessed while speaking with lawmakers.

Jim Tolbert, Citizens Climate Education Conservative Director and Jacob Abel, a Citizens Climate Conservative fellow, provide insider glimpses to the conversations about climate change they have with fellow Conservatives. 

You will learn what has changed in the Republican party, and the new landscape climate advocates lobbying Conservative members of Congress now face. Guests will share what Republicans bring to the climate conversation and the Conservative values that compel them to pursue effective ways to transform our energy economy. You will also receive advice and learn the ways these conservatives are speaking with their family, friends, and elected leaders about climate change.

Dig Deeper

Puzzler Question

We updated last month’s puzzler question and made it more personal.

He is the question slightly restated:

In a Zoom call you share your renewed commitment to promote climate solutions and ask your friend, Gretchen, to join your group. Gretchen slowly shakes her head and says, “I am concerned about the planet too, but with so many people affected by Covid-19, I think we are just going to have to deal with that first. Climate action is very important but for so many people right now, there are more pressing issues to address.”

The dilemma so many of us face right now is that climate action has been eclipsed by an immediate threat to humanity. How are you dealing with this? How are you navigating this new landscape? How are you adapting? What is a resource you have found helpful? 

Share your answers with Peterson by June, 17, 2020.

Leave a voice mail at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

CCR 47 Eco-Grief in a Time of Coronavirus Mourning

CCR 47 Eco-Grief in a Time of Coronavirus Mourning

April 24, 2020
How are the impacts of climate change similar to what we are experiencing with the Coronavirus global pandemic? Many climate advocates have long felt sadness, anger, and despair over the destructive effects of climate change and the slow response by elected officials to do anything about it. Suddenly with the Coronavirus Outbreak we are all thrust into yet another existential crisis and even more grief. Eight women talk about working through grief to a place of action. They use their expertise to connect the impacts of climate change to what we are now seeing with Covid-19.
 
Guests include:
  • Dr. Nathasha DeJarnett, Interim Associate Director Program & Partnership Development National Environmental Health Association
  • Dr. Lise VanSusteren, an American psychiatrist in private practice in Washington, DC with a special interest in the psychological effects of climate change.
  • Elizabeth Rush, author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore
  • Solemi Hernandez, Citizens Climate Lobby Southeast Regional Coordinator
  • Edie Lush, co-host of Global GoalsCast podcast
  • LaUra Schmidt and Aimee Lewis-Reau, co-founders of the Good Grief Network
  • Anna Jane Joyner, co-host of No Place Like Home podcast
See our complete show notes at Citizens Climate Lobby
 
Host, Peterson Toscano says, “As a podcaster, I get to hear and share stories. The stories and people I cover educate me about climate change and many other issues. They also affect me emotionally. They stir up sadness along with empathy.” Fellow climate podcasts, Edie Lush and Anna Jane Joyner, point out how essential grief was for them in helping understand what roles to take in the climate movement. 
 
In addition to the mental health risks we face, Dr. DeJarnett highlights the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19 and to Climate Change. These include people of color, children, and women. In episode 23 Dr. DeJarnett shared research conducted after Hurricane Katrina. It reveals women experienced extreme trauma in various forms including domestic violence during and after the storm. Dr. DeJarnett worries about similar dangers women now face during this time of extreme isolation. Solemi Hernandez speaks about her concerns for farmer workers and the multiple risks they face as essential workers living in remote rural areas often without health care and with unresolved immigration issues. 
 
LaUra Schmidt and Aimee Lewis-Reau from the Good Grief Network, share the tools they use to help climate advocates face the eco-grief that often slows us down. Through their 10-Step Program, Personal Resilience and Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate, they have seen climate advocates breakthrough so they are more energized to do their work.
 
All of the guests share best practices and strategies to help process grief and cope with stress in this time of Coronavirus. 
 
Thank you to Raul Diaz Palomar for music from his album Musica Para Poder Contra La Verdad.
 
Art House 
 
In the Art House, writer Elizabeth Rush returns with good news. Her book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore has garnered awards and was chosen as the Read Across Rhode Island pick. At the kick off event Elizabeth watched an excerpt of a play based her book. Observing herself portrayed on stage gave her a chance to realize something about her own grief process she had not noticed before. 
 
She talks about what she learned and reads selections from her book. 
 
Dig Deeper
 
Puzzler Question
 
Listeners share what they would say to Charles. He was worried about the Yellow Vest Protests in France and how something similar might happen in the USA if legislation is passed to put a price on carbon. 
 
New Puzzler Question 
On Earth Day in an on-line conversation with your friend, Gretchen, you share your renewed commitment to promote climate solutions. Gretchen slowly shakes her head  and says, “You know I am concerned about the planet too, but with so many people affected by Covid-19, I think we are just going to have to deal with that first. Climate action is very important, but for so many people right now, there are more pressing issues..”
 
Gretchen is correct. When people are struggling to pay bills, put food on the table, and as they recover from so many different losses, they often don’t have space for climate conversations. In fact, this has been true for lots of marginalized people for a long time, even before Coronavirus. So this puzzler question is for you to answer for yourself. How do you navigate your climate work as we deal with the impacts of Coronavirus? 
 
Send Peterson your answers. Leave your name, contact info, and where you are from.
Get back to him by May, 17th, 2020. Email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)
 
You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, Podbean, Northern Spirit Radio, Google Play, PlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

 

CCR Ep 46 Coronavirus, Climate Adaptation, and a Resilient Tomorrow

CCR Ep 46 Coronavirus, Climate Adaptation, and a Resilient Tomorrow

March 27, 2020
The issue on most everyone’s mind right now is Coronavirus or Covid-19. We are witnessing a massive social and political transformation as we respond to the outbreak of the virus. Individuals have rapidly and radically changed their behaviors—from washing hands to self-isolating. Nations and local authorities are each taking their part to stop the spread of this disease. We see in real time how quickly and effectively we can adapt to a crisis. We also are discovering where we have failed to anticipate this crisis that is upon us. 

The resilience and adaption we see happening all over the world, in our governments, and in our homes, have gotten some climate advocates reflecting on the preparations & rapid responses needed to address extreme weather events and other impacts from global warming. How is Coronavirus similar to climate change? How is it different? 

Host, Peterson Toscano convenes a panel of experts to consider these questions. 

  • Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, the interim Associate Director of Program & Partnership Development at the National Environmental Health Association. In previous episodes she has helped us better understand public health issues and climate change. Whether she is discussing environmental racism and pollution, the illnesses afflicting coal miners in Appalachia, or promoting mental health in a time of Climate Change, Dr. DeJarnett provides well sourced and grounded information.
  • Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, the director of the Sustainable Finance Center at the World Resources Institute. He leads the Center’s work to help drive finance into activities that promote sustainability and combat climate change. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment at the US Department of the Treasury. 
  • Alice. C Hill, a senior fellow for Climate Change Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Over 10 years ago she joined the Obama administration as senior legal counsel to Homeland Security director, Janet Politano. As a climate change resilience expert, She believes we possess the tools to respond to the impacts of climate change. She and Martinez-Diaz co-authored the book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare fo the Coming Climate Disruption

In discussing the connections they see regarding our preparations for and responses to protecting the public from Covid-19 and the impacts of climate change, they point out that governments do not properly plan for unexpected future events because of a collective failure of imagination. Martinez-Diaz explains the idea of availability bias, “the difficulty that we all have to imagine things we have never seen before. Therefore, we have a lot trouble planning and getting ready for things for which we have no living memory.” This was true of Coronavirus and is also true for climate change. 

In responding to crisis and suffering, they each point out the importance of having empathy towards those who are at risk, particularly the most vulnerable in society. This thoughtful and insightful conservation will help climate advocates better understand the work we seek to do in effectively communicating the urgency of climate change. Being able to tell stories to government officials and other stakeholders is a necessary skill to develop and hone. 

Listen Now
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The Art House

Survivor Generations 2165 An original radio drama by the Climate Stew Players

Hear the story of Yuri Ivanovich Petrov. As a boy he survived the infamous 900 Days Siege of Leningrad during World War II. Though he experienced the unimaginable hardships, he also developed inventive ways to survive. The lessons he learned during the greatest crisis of his generation, can help give us hope and guidance for our own.

 
Historical details and survivor narratives from the 900 day siege of Leningrad were drawn  primarily from Leningrad: State of Siege by Michael Jones, Leningrad Siege and Symphony by Bryan Moynahan, Writing the Siege of Leningrad: Women’s Diaries, Memoirs, and Documentary Prose by Cynthia Simons, The Besieged: Voices from the Siege of Leningrad by Caroline Watson, and The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison E. Salisbury. Research for the radio play was conducted by Alex Skitolsky. 

Puzzler Question
You are talking to your. friend, Charles. Charles is concerned about climate change but doesn’t know what we could do about it. You explain carbon pricing is a powerful tool to help us decrease fossil fuel emissions. Before you could say more your Charles interrupts, “Are you out of your mind? Did you see what happened in France when they tried that. Those Yellow Vest Protest! It was a political disaster! You really expect that to work here?”

How would you respond to Charles? 

Send your answers to Peterson by April, 15, 2020. You can email your responses to radio @ citizensclimate.org r leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.
 
 
Music Credits: Skaj Da Waidah, Raúl Díaz Palomar,  J Buckner

 

CCR Ep 45 How to Engage Young People in Your Climate Group. A New Jersey Success Story

CCR Ep 45 How to Engage Young People in Your Climate Group. A New Jersey Success Story

February 26, 2020

Concerned about climate change, Princeton University student, Jonathan Lu, and his friends became excited about a particular solution: Carbon Fee and Dividend. Through Citizens Climate Lobby they learned about a proposed national policy to price carbon and give the revenue back to households. That inspired them to ask, Could this be done in New Jersey?

Having a good idea is one thing, but doing all the hard work to make it a reality is quite another. Jonathan and his friends realized they needed help researching New Jersey state law. They also needed to speak with over 100 stake-holders all over the state. They wanted to make sure idea for legislation would appeal to as many different groups as possible.

Luckily they found a group of hard-working, intelligent, and creative people who enthusiastically joined the cause. People like Ahan Raina and Aurora Yuan. At the time they were both 15 years old.

Our host, Peterson Toscano, chats with Jonathan, Ahan, and Aurora, members of New Jersey Student Climate Adadvocates (NJSCA.) They and scores of high school and college students are working on the New Jersey Climate Investment and Carbon Cashback policy. In addition to applying what they are learning in school about climate change, economics, and civics, they are discovering just how challenging it is to devise a bill that appeals to as many people as possible. They are committed to seeing households benefit once carbon pricing begins in the state.  

After hearing from over 100 stakeholders though, they realized they needed to make adjustments to their original policy proposal. In a state with many businesses and industries, they heard how their idea might impact New Jersey businesses. They came up with a compromise that has made the bill better for more people in New Jersey.

While they worked on the policy though, Student Climate Strikes broke out in North America and beyond. Why do policy work instead of strike? Both Ahan and Aurora share insightful responses.

“People are definitely talking more about climate change because of the work of these climate strikers,” says Ahan. He adds, “You can build as much public interest as you want, but then someone has to do the work of building the policy.”

Aurora believes policy is the best way to address climate change, but not the only way. “I do participate in the climate strikes...I think policy though is the real concrete solution because we can’t get any tangible change without creating policy and systematic change.”

She understands why many of her peers are furious about the world they will inherit. For Aurora though, that anger can get in the way of the conversation. “The more angry you are and the more angry words you say to other people, the less they are willing to listen to you and the less they are willing to work with you...I think having a tone of calmness and willingness to speak with others and listen to where others are coming from, and then cooperating with others is really, really important right now."

Jonathan, experienced great success working with high school students on climate policy. In this episode he offers excellent advice to climate groups who want to work with young people.

If you inspired anew by this rising generation and learn some practical strategies for developing effective policy while for working with youth, hear the full interviews in this latest episode.

To learn more, follow them on Instagram

The Art House

Irish author, Shirley McMillan wanted nothing to do with climate change. A busy mom with a young child, she recoiled when Peterson Toscano first initiated a conversation with her about climate change six years ago. She did not deny the reality or seriousness of climate change, but it all felt too much. She was also uninspired by the many suggestions for how women can do all the hard work to lower the family’s carbon footprint.

Then something changed; Shirley began to see climate change as something more than just an environmental issue; she realized how it is also a human rights issue.

Hear a lively conversation between Shirley and Peterson as she shares why it took her awhile to warm up to climate action. Learning about her reasons may help you better understand why your own friends and loved ones switch off when you start talking about climate change. Discover how over time you can influence your friends to embrace climate change on their own terms.

Puzzler Question

Like Shirley, your friend, Heather, told you she wanted nothing to do with your climate work. She also had a limited view of what that work looks like: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t have time for climate work. I feel bad saying that but I work full time and I have two children still in school. I don’t have time for protesting right now”

Hear what listeners had to say to Heather.

New Puzzler Question

You are talking to your friend, Charles. Charles is concerned about climate change but doesn’t know what we can do about it. You explain how carbon pricing is a powerful tool to help us decrease fossil fuel emissions. Before you could say more Charles interrupts, “Are you out of your mind? Did you see what happened in France when they tried that. Those Yellow Vest Protest! It was a political disaster! You really expect that to work here?”How would you respond to Charles?

Send Peterson your answers. Leave your name, contact info, and where you are from. Get back to him by March, 15, 2020. You can leave a voice mail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.) or email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

CCR Ep 44 The Extraordinary Marshall Saunders

CCR Ep 44 The Extraordinary Marshall Saunders

January 24, 2020

On October 20th 2007, after having a revelation about the severity of climate change, Marshall Saunders launched Citizens Climate Lobby. He then inspired over one hundred thousand everyday citizens to appeal directly to members of congress. He helped empower them to offer a bold and straight forward solution to address climate change. Everyone who met Marshall, heard him speak, and worked beside him walked way with determination and a deeper belief in their own ability to change in the world. On December 27th, 2019 at the age of 80, Marshall Saunders passed away at his home in Coronado, California.

As host of Citizens Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano had the pleasure of sitting down to record interviews with Marshall multiple times. In these lively conversations, Marshall's voice is filled with kindness, wisdom, tenderness, insights, and mirth. Whenever Marshall spoke about CCL, he  expressed an unshakable faith in individuals to do far more than they ever imagined possible. As a leader, he influenced hundreds of thousands of volunteers to believe something outrageous—that cooperation in the US congress leading to bipartisan climate legislation was not only possible, but inevitable. 

For our main section we return to the beginning and bring you an intimate, moving, and at times hilarious conversation with Marshall Saunders, founder of Citizens Climate Lobby, and Mark Reynolds, the executive director. They reveal their origin stories. Highly ambitions and successful businessmen, they seemed unlikely candidates to head up an organization that puts relationship-building and climate advocacy at its heart.

The Art House
 
Days after the 2016 US presidential election, Peterson interviewed Marshall again and asked if Marshall book recommendations for listeners. Instead of suggesting books of non-fiction about climate, policy, or civics, Marshall immediately pointed to a 19th Century novel. He encouraged listeners to consider Leo Tolstoy’s Resurrection. The book is about a man who loses his way in the midst of a quickly changing industrial world. Tolstoy’s most philosophical work, Resurrection reveals flawed characters in need of redemption and the wisdom they discover as they find their way back to the places where they belong.  South African author, Glen Retief reads excerpts from the novel.
 
Excerpt from Resurrection
We may say of a man that he is more often kind than cruel, more often wise than stupid, more often energetic than apathetic or vice versa; but it could never be true to say of one man that he is kind or wise, and of another that he is wicked or stupid. Yet we are always classifying mankind in this way. And it is wrong. Human beings are like rivers; the water is one and the same in all of them but every river is narrow in some places, flows swifter in others; here it is broad, there still, or clear, or cold, or muddy or warm. It is the same with men. Every man bears within him the germs of every human quality, and now manifests one, now another, and frequently is quite unlike himself, while still remaining the same man.” 
Puzzler Question
 
You are at a political rally chatting with a new friend. Let’s call her Heather. When you ask her if she wants to join your climate group, she says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t have time for climate work. I feel bad saying that but I work full time and two children still in school, I don’t have time for protesting right now. 

It sounds like Heather as a limited view of what climate work looks like. How would you respond to Heather? 

Send Peterson your answer by February 15, 2020, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

 
Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

CCR Ep 43 From the Oil Fields in Venezuela to Climate Justice in the USA—Solemi Hernandez

CCR Ep 43 From the Oil Fields in Venezuela to Climate Justice in the USA—Solemi Hernandez

December 20, 2019

In this episode you will meet a fellow climate action figure. Solemi Hernandez finds great joy and fulfillment in the climate work she does. In hearing some of her own story, we hope it inspires you in your own. Originally from Venezuela, Solemi has lived in the US state of Florida for the past 17 years. She seeks to improve conditions for immigrant farm workers. She is also raising her two sons, and Solemi has taken on a very big mission. She wants to save the world starting in her own community.  

Like her father and grandfather before her, Solemi worked for the oil industry in Venezuela. In fact, she grew up in an oil town and saw firsthand the environmental and health hazards that came with the well-paid oil jobs. Once the oil industry became nationalized, Solemi moved to the USA and started on a very different path—as a social justice minded environmentalist. She began to volunteer with various groups including the Water Keepers Alliance and the Sierra Club. She helped create a local chapter of The Pachamama alliance, an umbrella organization that connects environmental and social justice organizations to work in the community. She also volunteered for Citizens Climate Lobby. 

Her concerns for her community and her passion to address climate change deepened in 2017 when she and her family endured a category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma. For three days the family lived in an emergency shelter in a public school that eventually also flooded. They returned to a devastated neighborhood. Their house survived the storm the region was without electricity for three weeks. With sweltering temperatures and limited supplies and resources, she and her community worked together to take care of each other. Solemi speaks about the added risks marginalized people face who do not have the income and mobility necessary to escape the storms and then to rebuild. 

Solemi admits that climate work is challenging, but she has found purpose and meaning in the climate work she is doing. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her story is inspiring. 

Solemi Hernandez is Citizens Climate Lobby's Southeast Regional Coordinator covering Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. She first learned about CCL in 2017 and she immediately signed up as a volunteer because she was inspired by CCL’s mission to create the political will for climate solutions. She is currently enrolled as a Political Science student at Florida Gulf Coast University. She has been a grassroots activist and community organizer for many years in Florida.

Prior to CCL, she worked as the co-host of a Spanish language TV talk show based in Southwest Florida. While at this position she had the opportunity to research and conduct in-depth personal interviews with political candidates and politicians. She has been volunteering with a number of organizations advocating in Tallahassee for the environment and the Everglades restoration.

Solemi is the mother of two wonderful young boys who are her motivation to continue her work for a better quality of life for all. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries, spending time with family and friends, going to the beach and exploring nature in all its diversity.

The Art House

Playwright Chantal Bilodeau returns to the Art House. Every two years to coincide with the UN COP meetings, Chantal and her team organizes an international event, Climate Change Theatre Action. They select 50 short climate change themed plays from 50 playwrights around the world. This fall over 200 communities organized events in 30 countries where they read some of these plays. Chantal shares highlights along with good news about how the movement is growing both in and outside of the theatre community.  A book with all 50 of the 2019 plays will be published in 2020. The collection of 50 plays from 2017 is available now. 

Puzzler Question

We hear your answers to a question about what household might do with a carbon dividend. Your friend Darren thinks given out a dividend is a bad idea. He says, "People will just use the dividend they get to continue paying for fossil fuels. Giving them money enables them to stay in their fossil fuel lifestyles. Hear what listeners had to say. 

New Puzzler Question
You are at a political rally chatting with a new friend. Let’s call her Heather. When you ask her if she wants to join your climate group, she says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t have time for climate work. I feel bad saying that but I work full time and two children still in school, I don’t have time for protesting right now. 

How would you respond to Heather? 

Send Peterson your answer by January 15, 2020, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, Podbean, Northern Spirit Radio, Google Play, PlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

CCR Ep 42 Better Angels Bridging the Political Divide

CCR Ep 42 Better Angels Bridging the Political Divide

November 23, 2019

Adam Rosenbalm and Austin Ramsey study at East Tennessee State University (ETSU.) Both raised in Conservative families in the South, they arrived on campus at a time when American citizens were more politically polarized than ever.  After the 2016 election it seemed the country was more polarized than ever. Conversations quickly became debates that led to arguments. Both Adam and Austin wanted to do something about the partisan divide between Conservative and Liberal Americans. Fortunately they learned about a new group called Better Angels.  

According to the Better Angels’ website, "Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing liberals and conservatives together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization.” They do this through their Red and Blue Workshops. With the help of a skilled facilitator, Better Angels hosts parliamentary styles debates. 

After attending a Better Angels’ event, Adam and Austin decided to bring the Better Angels’ style of debate to the ETSU campus. They hosted the first-ever Better Angel’s debate on a college campus. They chose a hot button topic that drew a large audience. Adam explains, “East Tennessee State University is in rural Tennessee…and firearms are a part of most people’s lives, and so we set forth the resolution that said, ‘Resolved: Students should be allowed to carry guns on campus.’ The whole premise of the event after that was people were asked to either speak in the affirmative or the negative on the topic.” Throughout the debate students were given space to share their feelings about the topic and raise questions. 

What often becomes a heated debate where people walk away angry and further divided instead became a space of deeper understanding and friendship. Because of skillful facilitation and clear guardrails that kept the conversation moving forward, the ETSU Better Angels gun debate was a huge success.  Austin says, “It really won over the campus. Students really connected with the style. We had students on both side of the issues that at the end worked together to say, hey, we need to meet to talk about this issue. We need to work together, because now we see this issue is deeper than a gun…it’s about how we’ve been raised, how we perceive this issue, where we were born, and how some of the milestones in our lives affect how we think about this. And that’s important when we talk about these difficult issues.”

After that initial success, Adam and Austin organized debates on other topics. They share with Citizens Climate Radio host, Peterson Toscano, some of the insights they have learned that help them to foster civil discourse that results in genuine understanding and appreciation of people on the other side of an issue. They also talk about climate change and the challenges that must be overcome when organizing an effective dialogue between Conservatives and Liberals.  

The Art House

Being a climate advocate can be very difficult. How do you maintain hope in the face of bad news and apathy from those around you? Where do you find encouragement and inspiration? What role can faith play in our climate work? These are the questions Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade and Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas  the editors of a new anthology of essays by climate change faith leaders, wanted to answer. They bring together 21 climate leaders in the book, Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis

Contributors include Dr. Katharine HayhoeRev Fred SmallCristina Leaño, and Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman. In his introduction to the book, Bill McKibben argues for the need for a faith-based book about climate action, “…love, I would suggest, is what finally roots this volume: a love for the world around us, in all its improbable glory, and for the people who alone can bear witness to that glory and rise to its defense. If they are indeed summoned to that calling, it may be in part by fear—by the proper functioning of the survival instinct. But I suspect it will be more by love, the ever-great mystery. This volume opens some windows on that mystery, because the people whose words are collected in it have been powered by that force.”

In the Art House the editors speak briefly about the book, and then contributors, Dr. Nathasha DeJarnett, a research coordinator at the National Environmental Health Assocation reads a portion of her essay, “The View from My Window. Corina Newsome, from Young Evangelicals for Climate Action  shares how her hope was rekindled through the process of writing her piece, “The Thing with Feathers.” Once she received her copy of the book and read the other essays, she found even more hope. 

 

Puzzler

We hear answers to last month’s puzzler: System Change, Not Climate Change. What does that even mean? 

New Puzzler Question

You are talking to your neighbor, Darren. You explain the many possible ways of we can address climate change.  One proposal is to charge energy companies a fee when they extract fossil fuels. The money collected then goes to households. You say this carbon fee and dividend plan will serve as an incentive to switch over to cleaner sources of energy.  Darren replies, “Well that’s stupid. People will just use the dividend they get to continue paying for fossil fuels.  Giving them money enables them to stay in their fossil fuel lifestyles?”

What do you have to say to Darren?    

Send Peterson your answer by December 15, 2019, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

 

Dig Deeper

 

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

CCR Ep 41 Tuskegee University Research Breakthrough

CCR Ep 41 Tuskegee University Research Breakthrough

October 26, 2019

Tuskegee University is a historically Black University in Alabama founded in 1881. From the early work of George Washington Carver, Tuskegee has trained generations of researchers who are unraveling mysteries from the natural world. Dr. Carver wrote, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” 

Two researchers have been tuning in and made a series of extraordinary discoveries all from agricultural waste. Out of the muck Dr. Michael L Curry, Dr. Donald White, and a team of other researchers found a natural alternative to plastics, one that will biodegrade in less than 100 days. This will keep us from adding even more pollution to a very polluted world. Further researched revealed this material also has other extraordinary properties. 

According to Business Alabama, "Scientists working at Tuskegee University have found a bio-based material that shows promise for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — a more immediate solution to climate change than revamping land and forestry usage or geo-engineering.”  
 
Host Peterson Toscano chats with Dr. Curry and Dr. White. They discuss their findings and the important ethical issues that must be considered when introducing a new product into the marketplace. Hear an informative and inspiring conversation with two researchers who are actively seeking solutions for the challenging problems we face.
Dr. Curry and Dr. White continue in the tradition of George Washington Carver and the many curious, well trained, and highly skilled researchers at Tuskegee University.
 

The Art House

Helping the public engage in climate change requires skillful communication and a lot of creativity. One troupe of performers in Northern Europe decided to break out of the box altogether. In the Summer of 2019 they presented a performance piece in Norway and Denmark. Instead of bringing the audience into a theatre, Acting for Climate took their show to eight different harbor. For a stage, they used a very large wooden boat. Into the Water is a theatrical circus performance aimed at raising ecological awareness. In addition to the performance, they organized festivals at each of the harbors.
 
Acting for Climate members Abigael Rydtun Winsvold and Nathan Biggs-Penton recreate the performance for our listening audience. Hear about the circus artists and their amazing feats as they climb the eight-story high mast, do acrobatics, and take the audience on a wild and moving ride. After each performance, the troupe connected with the audience for further discussion.  
 
Abigael found the response to be better than she imagined, "People came up to us and said that they were really really touched. Even sixty-year-old men, which I don’t normally see crying. I barely have seen anyone I don’t know crying in this age group. They came up to us and said, 'Wow! I’m really touched. I’m just going to take a walk and cry for myself right now.' That was really touching for us to hear people were touched by the performance, not only excited, but also shaken a bit somehow."
 

Puzzler Question

 We will extend the puzzler question from last month.  

After attending the recent climate strikes, imagine you run into your cousin, Kristan. She saw news reports about events around the world. She says, “I love the sign ‘system change not climate change,’ but it seems like a total fantasy. They expect everyone to go vegan or something? What systems can we change that will make any difference with climate change?"  

Kristan needs some help envisioning the kind of change that you are pursuing. How would you answer her?  

Send Peterson your answer by November 15, 2019, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

CCR Ep 40 Fashion and Climate Change with Tatiana Schlossberg and Climate Poetry with Catherine Pierce

CCR Ep 40 Fashion and Climate Change with Tatiana Schlossberg and Climate Poetry with Catherine Pierce

September 28, 2019

Tatiana Schlossberg is the author of the new book, Inconspicuous Consumption.  In it she highlights just how good we are at being bad when it comes to fossil fuel pollution. She exposes the pollution generated by four major industries--Fuel, Food, Internet, and Fashion. About the book, Bill McKibben writes, “[Schlossberg] deserves real credit for coming through her journey into the guts of the consumer machine with a clarifying insight: We aren’t going to solve our problems one consumer at a time. We’re going to need to do it as societies and civilizations, or not at all.”

In her conversation with host, Peterson Toscano, Schlossberg dives into the the vast world of fashion and the extreme pollution the industry produces, and how this pollution contributes to global warming. She focuses on specific sectors including denim and the production of jeans.

In writing about cotton, Schlossberg points out, “It’s grown in more than sixty-five countries around the world, makes up about one-third of all the fibers used in textiles, takes up about 3 percent of global agricultural land, and has a big carbon footprint: producing the world’s cotton supply for the use in textiles results in 107.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.” 

In addition to creating pollution, growing cotton and manufacturing cotton textiles demand a massive amount of water. “Producing one kilogram of cotton requires somewhere between 1,800 and 7,660 gallons of water, depending on where its grown,” according to Schlossberg. Once harvested, the cotton is then transformed into fabrics like denim, a process that is also water intensive. Schlossberg states, “as much as 2,900 gallons can be used to produce a single pair of pants (using conventional methods), mostly because of the dyeing and finishing.”  

When it comes to the alternatives to cotton, like synthetics, Schlossberg reveals the tremendous greenhouse gas emissions and micro-fiber pollution created every year as a result of the manufacture, use, washing, and disposing of synthetic fabrics. The company that pioneered synthetic fabric, Patagonia, is now hard at work looking for solutions and alternatives. Schlossberg warns pollution from fashion is increasing because of the growing industry of fast fashion, where cheap quick production comes with a hidden ecological price tag. 

In her book and this podcast episode, Schlossberg does a great job of pointing out the many sources of pollution that come from the world of fashion. She readily admits she does not provide many solutions. Her job is to help us understand the scale of the problem. She recognizes the response needs to be in relation to the size of the problem. Individual efforts are not nearly enough. The role of politicians and the political process is vital to bringing about the changes in policy we need. In addition, the role of citizens speaking out about climate change is more important than ever.

Schlossberg helps us consume this heavy topic with plenty of spoonfuls of sugar; her humor, warmth, and hope shine through.  

The Art House

What does it take to create a poetic masterpiece that is also able to express the complex emotions we feel around climate change? Poet Catherine Pierce describes her process crafting her moving poem, Anthropocene Pastoral  Host, Peterson Toscano produces an Art House segment heavily influenced by the podcast Song Exploder. They invite a musician to unpack a song and talk about almost every aspect of it and their creative process. In the Art House, Pierce does something similar for us with Anthropocene Pastoral. The poem first appeared in the American Poetry Review

Inspired by the California Super Bloom of 2017, Pierce captures the strangeness of living in a world that is rapidly and dangerously changing but at the same time can be unseasonably pleasant and beautiful. (Tatiana Schlossberg wrote about a Super Bloom for the New York Times.) 

Pierce opens the poem with the line, "In the beginning the ending was beautiful.”

In the conversation she reveals the many choices she made as a poet to create the haunting mood of the poem and the lush landscape in it filled with a riot of images, animals, and life. She explains some of the techniques and devices she uses to construct the poem. Then she reads the poem for us.

You can read more of Catherine Pierce's climate change themed poetry online including High Dangerous and Planet.  Pierce’s last book of poetry, The Tornado is the World  is about an EF-4 tornado/extreme weather. The filmmaker Isaac Ravishankara produced a beautiful short film out of one of the poems in the collection, "The Mother Warns the Tornado.” 

Catherine Pierce is the co-director of the Writing Program at Mississippi State University, and the author of the award winning collection of poetry, Famous Last Words. She is working on a new book of poetry, Danger Days, which continues her exploration of climate change. It will be available in autumn 2020.

Puzzler

Students from Susquehanna University answer last month's puzzler question. Victor, a middle school student is freaking out because of climate change. “What could I even do about?” What does he need to hear?

We also get inspiration from elementary students at the River Valley Nature School who gave a presentation at the Climate Strike event held in Lewisburg, PA.

New Puzzler Question:

After attending the recent climate strikes you ran into your cousin, Kristan. She saw news reports about events around the world. She says, “I love the sign—system change not climate change, but it seems like a total fantasy. They expect everyone to go vegan or something? What systems can we change that will make any difference with climate change? ”

Kristan needs some help envisioning the kind of change that you are pursuing. How would you answer Kristan?

Leave your name, contact info, and where you are from. Get your answer in by October, 15, 2019. You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!
CCR Ep 39 Envisioning and Communicating Climate Success

CCR Ep 39 Envisioning and Communicating Climate Success

August 24, 2019
Climate Communication experts Blair Bazdarich from the San Francisco Zoo and Hannah Pickard at Boston's New England Aquarium share proven insider tips about effective communication strategies. They are both leaders at NNOCCI, the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. They train aquarium and zoo professionals how to speak about climate change. NNOCCI is a network of individuals and organizations in informal education, the social sciences, and climate sciences.They are currently working in 170 institutions in 38 states. NNOCCI members reach over 190 million people each year.
 
In this episode Hannah and Blair share the techniques they have been using, including a “values-first” approach. Through NNOCCI’s research, they identified two motivating values that prove highly effective in opening up conversations with members of the public. The first value is Protection—we feel a strong need to protect the people and places we love. And the second is Responsible Management. We value solving problems earlier before they become too big. 
 
In addition, NNOCCI advises climate communicators to to speak less about the mechanisms leading to climate change and its effects. Instead they encourage us to focus our conversations on solutions. Hannah and Blair share how to lead the conversation to a place of hopeful engagement. Providing achievable, large scale solutions coupled with a clear vision of the benefits these solutions will have on our communities and familes is an extremely powerful combination. It will motivate people to believe, dream, and act. 
 
Blair Bazdarich has spent the past 20 years becoming an expert in science communication, but she didn't realize that's what she was doing until recently. Through volunteering, performing, shoveling poop, learning new languages, teaching, painting, and advocating for endangered species, she has found her niche in the science community. In her current position as Education & Engagement Manager at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, she runs the ZooMobile program, which brings animals to schools throughout the Bay Area, and several teen volunteer programs, where she mentors high school students in conservation and education. Blair is also an active member of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI), and serves in the Governing Council, working to unify the national narrative and action plan on climate change. In her spare time, she is the resident "Zoologist" on the podcast This Week in Science, or TWIS.
 
Hannah Pickard is Program Manager for the NNOCCI and is responsible for network management and operations. Hannah has led NNOCCI’s efforts on curriculum development, facilitator training, and alumni support since 2010.  She has a background in education program development, implementation and evaluation for families, schools, and community groups.  She holds a B.A. in studio art and Italian from Connecticut College and an Executive Certificate in Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania.  She also has training in evaluation from Lesley University and in conservation psychology from Antioch University.
 
Hear these conversations to gain value lessons from leaders in the field of climate communication. 
 
 
The Art House

Sometimes we cannot easily imagine the impacts legislation and policy can make. Andrews Smalls from City Lab wrote the article, What American Cities Looked like Before the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created. "Since 1970, the agency has reduced the six most common air pollutants by more than 50 percent, reduced air toxins from large industrial sources by almost 70 percent, and eliminated the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. And this progress was accomplished even as the country’s GDP tripled, energy consumption increased by 50 percent, and vehicle use nearly doubled."

Of course we have still have work to do. We need to reduce localized pollution and heat-trapping greenhouse gases globally. So how do we build the political will so that the public clamors for legislation and policy that will change how we get and use energy? We need to communicate to the public what success looks like. Envisioning success in our climate work though requires imagination. 

To help us with this task Sean Dague, the group leader for the Mid-Hudson South chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, leads us through a powerful exercise. He asks us, What does a decarbonized world look like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? 

Once you hear Sean’s vision of a successful future, we invite you to continue the exercise. Try some creative writing. Write a short story or a letter from the future about what you see, smell, and hear.  Maybe create visual art, a drawing or painting. If you can’t draw or paint, get images from magazines and on-line then create a collage. Write a song, create a map, choreograph a dance. Use art to capture a vision of a decarbonized world. Even if you do not see yourself as an artsy person, just try it. 

Towards the end of his life, writer Kurt Vonnegut would say, "Everyone should practice art because art enlarges the soul." 

PLEASE feel free to share your art with our host, Peterson Toscano, and let him know if I can share it with listeners, on the podcast, Facebook, and Twitter. 

If you have art from this exercise to share or if you have idea for the Art House, feel free to contact Peterson at radio@citizensclimate.org.

Puzzler
 
Joining us to answer last month’s question about climate adaptation is Doug Parsons, the host of the America Adapts podcast. 
 
New Puzzler Question

You just spoke to a group of middle school students about your climate change work. During the Q&A a student named Victor says, “I am freaking out because of all the bad stuff I am seeing and it seems like it is just getting worse and worse. I really do not see the point of even trying anymore. I think we are too far gone. What difference does this make?” 

Lots of people young and old feel the same way. So how do you respond to Victor? How can you validate his fears while also giving him reasons to hope and pursue solutions.  

Send us your answers. Leave your name, contact info, and where you are from.

Get back to Peterson by September, 15, 2019 Email: radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less: 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.) 

Dig Deeper
You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.
If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!